Dr. Jennifer Totonchy

Dr. Jennifer Totonchy

Associate Professor, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies
School of Pharmacy
Expertise: Immunology; Virology; Molecular Biology; Flow Cytometry;
Office Location: Rinker Health Science Campus 297R
Phone: (714) 516-5438
Scholarly Works:
Digital Commons
Northwestern University, Bachelor of Arts
Oregon Health Science University, Ph.D.


Dr. Jennifer Totonchy joined CUSP on November 1, 2016 as an assistant professor of immunology and immunotherapeutics.  Dr. Totonchy completed her PhD in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology (working on subversion of host cytokine signaling by Human Cytomegalovirus and its contribution to solid organ allograft rejection) at Oregon Health and Science University in 2010 and did postdoctoral fellowships (working on the pathogenesis of Kaposi Sarcoma Herpesvirus in endothelial cells and B lymphocytes) at Oregon Health and Science University from 2010 to 2013 and Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City from 2013 to 2016.  In 2014, she was awarded a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research in order to continue her work on the fundamental virology of Kaposi Sarcoma Herpesvirus infection in the human tonsil.  Dr. Totonchy has authored 13 peer-reviewed publications and 10 conference abstracts.


Research Interests

Dr. Totonchy’s research is focused on Kaposi Sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV) and particularly on establishing how KSHV enters a human host by infection of cells in the oral lymphoid tissues.   Her research utilizes a variety of primary cell types from human tonsil tissue to determine the viral and cellular genes involved in early infection events.  Her recent work on KSHV infection of B lymphocytes has revealed novel mechanisms by which KSHV manipulates B cell physiology. In particular, Dr. Totonchy is interested in characterizing the contribution of functional viral proteins packaged into virus particles, known as tegument proteins to early events during B lymphocyte infection.  The study of KSHV tegument proteins in B lymphocytes has major implications for the prevention and treatment of KSHV-associated human disease but is also an intriguing system that can be used to uncover B lymphocyte-specific physiology in order to develop B cell-targeted immunotherapeutic paradigms for other diseases.


Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications

Alwadei N, Rashid M, Chandrashekar DV, Rahighi S, Totonchy J, Sharma A, Mehvar R. Generation and Characterization of CYP2E1-Overexpressing HepG2 Cells to Study the Role of CYP2E1 in Hepatic Hypoxia-Reoxygenation Injury. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 May 1;24(9):8121. doi: 10.3390/ijms24098121. PMID: 37175827
Cesarman E, Totonchy J. Editorial overview: Viruses and Cancer. Curr Opin Virol. 2023 Oct;62:101364. doi: 10.1016/j.coviro.2023.101364. Epub 2023 Sep 4. PMID: 37672873
Alomari N, Totonchy J. IL-21 signaling promotes the establishment of KSHV infection in human tonsil lymphocytes by increasing differentiation and targeting of plasma cells. Front Immunol. 2022 Dec 7;13:1010274. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2022.1010274. PMID: 36569889; PMCID: PMC9769966.
Alomari N, Totonchy J. Host-Level Susceptibility and IRF1 Expression Influence the Ability of IFN-? to Inhibit KSHV Infection in B Lymphocytes. Viruses. 2022 Oct 19;14(10):2295. doi: 10.3390/v14102295. PMID: 36298850; PMCID: PMC9607942.
Nam YW, Kong D, Wang D, Orfali R, Sherpa RT, Totonchy J, Nauli SM, Zhang M. Differential modulation of SK channel subtypes by phosphorylation. Cell Calcium. 2021 Mar;94:102346. doi: 10.1016/j.ceca.2020.102346. Epub 2021 Jan 6. PMID: 33422768; PMCID: PMC8415101.
Palmerin N, Aalam F, Nabiee R, Muniraju M, Ogembo JG, Totonchy J. Suppression of DC-SIGN and gH Reveals Complex, Subset-Specific Mechanisms for KSHV Entry in Primary B Lymphocytes. Viruses. 2021 Jul 31;13(8):1512. doi: 10.3390/v13081512. PMID: 34452377; PMCID: PMC8402705.
Li Y, Duche A, Sayer MR, Roosan D, Khalafalla FG, Ostrom RS, Totonchy J, Roosan MR. SARS-CoV-2 early infection signature identified potential key infection mechanisms and drug targets. BMC Genomics. 2021 Feb 18;22(1):125. doi: 10.1186/s12864-021-07433-4. PMID: 33602138; PMCID: PMC7889713.
Qadri M, Jay GD, Zhang LX, Schmidt TA, Totonchy J, Elsaid KA. Proteoglycan-4 is an essential regulator of synovial macrophage polarization and inflammatory macrophage joint infiltration. Arthritis Res Ther. 2021 Sep 14;23(1):241. doi: 10.1186/s13075-021-02621-9. Erratum in: Arthritis Res Ther. 2021 Oct 29;23(1):276. PMID: 34521469; PMCID: PMC8439011.
El-Sayed NS, Jureka AS, Edwards MR, Lohan S, Williams CG, Keiser PT, Davey RA, Totonchy J, Tiwari RK, Basler CF, Parang K. Synthesis and antiviral activity of fatty acyl conjugates of remdesivir against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and Ebola virus. Eur J Med Chem. 2021 Dec 15;226:113862. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2021.113862. Epub 2021 Sep 21. PMID: 34583312; PMCID: PMC8454092.
Shamloo K, Weng J, Ross C, Lee J, Alfuraih S, Totonchy J, Sharma A. Local Renin-Angiotensin System Activation and Myofibroblast Formation in Graft Versus Host Disease-Associated Conjunctival Fibrosis. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2021 Oct 4;62(13):10. doi: 10.1167/iovs.62.13.10. PMID: 34643664; PMCID: PMC8525838.
Muniraju M, Mutsvunguma LZ, Foley J, Escalante GM, Rodriguez E, Nabiee R, Totonchy J, Mulama DH, Nyagol J, Wussow F, Barasa AK, Brehm M, Ogembo JG. Kaposi Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Glycoprotein H Is Indispensable for Infection of Epithelial, Endothelial, and Fibroblast Cell Types. J Virol. 2019 Aug 15;93(16). doi: 10.1128/JVI.00630-19. Print 2019 Aug 15. PubMed PMID: 31142670
Mulama DH, Mutsvunguma LZ, Totonchy J, Ye P, Foley J, Escalante GM, Rodriguez E, Nabiee R, Muniraju M, Wussow F, Barasa AK, Ogembo JG. A multivalent Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus-like particle vaccine capable of eliciting high titers of neutralizing antibodies in immunized rabbits. Vaccine. 2019 Jul 9;37(30):4184-4194. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2019.04.071. Epub 2019 Jun 11. PubMed PMID: 31201053.
Broeckel R, Sarkar S, May NA, Totonchy J, Kreklywich CN, Smith P, Graves L, DeFilippis VR, Heise MT, Morrison TE, Moorman N, Streblow DN. Src Family Kinase Inhibitors Block Translation of Alphavirus Subgenomic mRNAs. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2019 Apr;63(4). doi: 10.1128/AAC.02325-18. Print 2019 Apr. PubMed PMID: 30917980; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6496153.
Totonchy J, Osborn JM, Chadburn A, Nabiee R, Argueta L, Mikita G, *Cesarman E. KSHV induces immunoglobulin rearrangements in mature B lymphocytes. PLoS Pathog. 2018 Apr;14(4):e1006967. PubMed PMID: 29659614; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5919685.
Totonchy, J. Extrafollicular Activities: Perspectives on HIV infection, germinal center-independent maturation pathways, and KSHV-mediated lymphoproliferation. Current Opinion in Virology. 2017, Aug 2;26:69-73.